Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts

Friday, June 30, 2023

30: Ukraine


How Can ChatGPT Provide Recommendations For Improving Customer Loyalty Programs?
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How Can ChatGPT Provide Guidance On How To Use Chatbots And Other AI-Powered Tools To Enhance Customer Interactions?
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How Can ChatGPT Help Create And Manage Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns?

Thursday, June 29, 2023

29: Russia

How Can ChatGPT Help Create And Implement A Social Media Influencer Program?
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Image Generation
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The Mediterranean Diet Really Is That Good for You. Here’s Why. It has become the bedrock of virtuous eating. Experts answer common questions about how it leads to better health. .

Reshape your marketing with GPT In this webinar, discover the true potential of GPT for marketing.......... While AI can assist in drafting marketing materials and offering prompt responses to customer inquiries, its capabilities extend far beyond these basic functions. .

काठमाडौँबाट पाकिस्तान लागे चिनियाँ अर्बपति ज्याक मा

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

27: Russia

Opinion: Victory for Ukraine could be closer than we thought Both President Vladimir Putin, and Russia itself, have been shown to be far weaker than they would like to pretend to be. The sight of Wagner columns apparently being waved through on their way to Moscow, and calmly breezing in to occupy a key military headquarters while holding coffees, has exploded the idea that Putin has a firm and unchallenged grip on power throughout his own country........ the ability of a group of armed insurrectionists to roam southern Russia unchallenged has highlighted the Russian state’s lack of capacity to deal with challenges beyond the front line of its war on Ukraine. ........ The opportunity for Ukraine lies, instead, in the effect this should have on its coalition of Western backers. .

Wagner leader Prigozhin begins Belarus exile Prigozhin is a creation of the Kremlin. Since he formed the Wagner mercenary group in 2014, he has become a key tool of Putin's desire to reimpose Russian influence across the globe. ....... Shoigu has had a plan he hoped would reduce his adversary's influence for good, announcing that "volunteer formations" would be asked to sign contracts directly with the ministry of defence.

Tesla May Have Already Won the Charging Wars Deals with Ford and G.M. will make it easier to find a charger but could give Elon Musk control of critical infrastructure. ........... In addition to selling more electric cars in the United States than all other automakers put together, Tesla operates the country’s largest fast-charging network. ............ Tesla has 19,700 charging ports across the United States at about 1,800 stations

AI is killing the old web, and the new web struggles to be born ChatGPT is being used to generate whole spam sites. Etsy is flooded with “AI-generated junk.” Chatbots cite one another in a misinformation ouroboros. LinkedIn is using AI to stimulate tired users. Snapchat and Instagram hope bots will talk to you when your friends don’t. Redditors are staging blackouts. Stack Overflow mods are on strike. The Internet Archive is fighting off data scrapers, and “AI is tearing Wikipedia apart.” ............ Given money and compute, AI systems — particularly the generative models currently in vogue — scale effortlessly. They produce text and images in abundance, and soon, music and video, too............ Reddit’s moderators are staging blackouts after the company said it would steeply increase charges to access its API, with the company’s execs saying the changes are (in part) a response to AI firms scraping its data. “The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable,” Reddit founder and CEO Steve Huffman told The New York Times. “But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.” .............. Wikipedia is familiar with being scraped in this way. The company’s information has long been repurposed by Google to furnish “knowledge panels,” and in recent years, the search giant has started paying for this information. But Wikipedia’s moderators are debating how to use newly capable AI language models to write articles for the site itself. ............ Google Search underwrites the economy of the modern web, distributing attention and revenue to much of the internet. Google has been spurred into action by the popularity of Bing AI and ChatGPT as alternative search engines, and it’s experimenting with replacing its traditional 10 blue links with AI-generated summaries. But if the company goes ahead with this plan, then the changes would be seismic. ........... Google’s new system is essentially a “plagiarism engine.” Its AI-generated summaries often copy text from websites word-for-word but place this content above source links, starving them of traffic. ............... Revenue-strapped sites would likely be pushed out of business and Google itself would run out of human-generated content to repackage. ............ for all AI’s vaunted ability to recombine text, it’s people who ultimately create the underlying data — whether that’s journalists picking up the phone and checking facts or Reddit users who have had exactly that battery issue with the new DeWalt cordless ratchet and are happy to tell you how they fixed it ............. It’s fluent but not grounded in real-world experience, and so it takes time and expertise to unpick. ............ There’s a famous essay in the field of machine learning known as “The Bitter Lesson,” which notes that decades of research prove that the best way to improve AI systems is not by trying to engineer intelligence but by simply throwing more computer power and data at the problem. The lesson is bitter because it shows that machine scale beats human curation. And the same might be true of the web. .............. the web itself killed what came before it, and often for the better. Printed encyclopedias are all but extinct, for example, but I prefer the breadth and accessibility of Wikipedia to the heft and reassurance of Encyclopedia Britannica.

If Biden Wanted to Ease U.S.-China Tensions, Would Americans Let Him? In polls, Americans’ views of China are starting to resemble their views of the Soviet Union decades ago. That could make it harder to mend ties. ........ Polls show striking similarities between the hostility, pessimism and militarism in Americans’ views of the Soviet Union during the late 1940s run-up to the Cold War, and how they view China today. While the parallels remain limited and the contexts different, this could complicate attempts to avert a Cold War-like clash. ........ By 1946, three-quarters of Americans disapproved of Soviet foreign policy. ......... In 1948, as the Soviets blockaded West Berlin, most Americans thought the U.S. should keep troops there even if it risked war. Today, most prioritize preventing an invasion of Taiwan over maintaining good relations with China, sending it weapons if China invades and using the U.S. Navy to thwart a blockade. By 1949, nearly half of Americans thought it was “just a matter of time” before the U.S. went to war with the Soviets. Today, two-thirds see Chinese military power as a “critical threat” to the U.S. over the next decade. ......... Chinese public opinion — which has become similarly negative and hawkish toward the U.S. under Mr. Xi — may also impede de-escalation. Academic research suggests that public opinion can drive leaders’ decision-making even in countries where politicians aren’t democratically elected. “There’s this public outcry for leaders to do something,” Mr. Kertzer said. “And then you end up in a situation where escalation on one side leads to escalation on the other.”......... “The conception at the macro level is that we are really in a serious competition,” Mr. Herrmann said. “Now the public has followed. And it’s not like you can turn this ship around overnight.”

Indian minister scoffs at Obama comment on protecting Muslims "He was commenting on Indian Muslims ... having bombed Muslim-majority countries from Syria to Yemen ... during his presidency," Sitharaman told a press conference on Sunday.

How To Write Effective Prompts For ChatGPT: 7 Essential Steps For Best Results . Without knowing how to prompt ChatGPT effectively it will remain a novelty tool with no real value. You’ll create generic mediocrity, not masterpieces worthy of sharing. You’ll waste more time than you save. The novelty factor will soon wear off and you’ll be back at the drawing board running your business the manual way. ......... “creating good prompts is easy when you follow the right framework and take out the guesswork” ........ “creating good prompts is easy when you follow the right framework and take out the guesswork” ........ Assign a role ....... Give a clear, descriptive, and accurate task ......... Provide context......... Large language models are capable of processing copious amounts of data. Unlike a human, who might make notes and forget about most of them, a model will process requests and handle every bit of information. Make the most of this power in your prompts. .......... Create rules ....... Garbage in, garbage out. Genius in, genius out. Learn how to prompt ChatGPT effectively to unlock a new level of output and stop wasting your time.

‘All bets are off’: An uncertain future after Wagner mutiny Speculation abounds on social media, but experts warn against drawing conclusions on the fate of the Wagner Group. ....... Prigozhin’s deal with Belarus does not necessarily guarantee his safety........ “It’s not possible for the Kremlin to marginalise Wagner,” he said. “Russia and Vladimir Putin depend on and, in fact, need the Wagner Group to carry out Russian foreign policy, not just in Ukraine, but around the world, in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali and elsewhere.”

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Monday, June 26, 2023

26: Prigozhin, Navalny, Putin

Putin looked into the abyss Saturday — and blinked . After vowing revenge for what he called an “armed mutiny,” he settled for a compromise. The speed with which Putin backed down suggests that his sense of vulnerability might be higher even than analysts believed. Putin might have saved his regime Saturday, but this day will be remembered as part of the unraveling of Russia as a great power — which will be Putin’s true legacy. ........ Putin’s deal with renegade militia leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin is likely to be a momentary truce, at best. The bombastic rebel will head for Belarus, in a deal brokered by his pal President Alexander Lukashenko, in exchange for Putin dropping charges against him and his mutinous soldiers .......... This was a real coup, until it wasn’t. For much of Saturday, Prigozhin was marching units of his 25,000-man Wagner militia toward the gates of Moscow, rolling through Russia’s Ukrainian command headquarters at Rostov-on-Don and north to Voronezh. Sources tell me the Russian FSB put up roadblocks along the way, to little effect. Putin called up the National Guard to defend Moscow. ........... As Putin said in a blood-curdling address Saturday, this was becoming a 1917 moment, when the nation was reeling from another misbegotten war and, in Putin’s words, “Russians were killing Russians, brothers killing brothers.” ........... as the Wagner forces moved north, the regular army neither followed nor hindered them. .......... This was like a game of chicken where both cars swerve in the end, or a duel where both fighters shoot in the air, to fight another day. ......... Putin had only bad choices, and he knew it. Chechen forces commanded by Ramzan Kadyrov would have been the vanguard of his attack on Wagner in Rostov; that would have been a savage mess. Putin couldn’t be sure whether regular army units would obey his orders. He was walking into a situation he couldn’t control. Putin doesn’t do that — with the exception of his insane miscalculation invading Ukraine. ........... With his ice-blue eyes, he embodies the phrase “never let them see you sweat.” He lets others feud beneath him, refusing to intervene over the past year as Prigozhin lobbed almost daily insults at Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Putin acts as if it’s beneath him to dirty his hands in such petty quarrels........... Now as then, he said, the enemy was external. “Against us, the whole military, economical and information machines of the West are turned,” he said. That toxic mixture of Russian insecurity and national pride continues to be Putin’s fuel as a leader........... What comes next, surely, is more trouble for Putin in Ukraine. Prigozhin told the truth flat out in the days before his march on Moscow. Ukraine didn’t threaten Russia, and Russia’s invasion was unnecessary — a mistake of epic proportions. Even Putin, the ice man, can’t freeze the burning truth of his Ukraine disaster.

Alexei Navalny: This is what a post-Putin Russia should look like The strategy should be to ensure that Russia and its government naturally, without coercion, do not want to start wars and do not find them attractive. This is undoubtedly possible. Right now the urge for aggression is coming from a minority in Russian society. ......... the problem with the West’s current tactics lies not just in the vagueness of their aim, but in the fact that they ignore the question: What does Russia look like after the tactical goals have been achieved? Even if success is achieved, where is the guarantee that the world will not find itself confronting an even more aggressive regime, tormented by resentment and imperial ideas that have little to do with reality? With a sanctions-stricken but still big economy in a state of permanent military mobilization? And with nuclear weapons that guarantee impunity for all manner of international provocations and adventures? ........ It is easy to predict that even in the case of a painful military defeat, Putin will still declare that he lost not to Ukraine but to the “collective West and NATO,” whose aggression was unleashed to destroy Russia. .......... he will vow to create an army so strong and weapons of such unprecedented power that the West will rue the day it defied us, and the honor of our great ancestors will be avenged. ......... And then we will see a fresh cycle of hybrid warfare and provocations, eventually escalating into new wars. ........... Russia must cease to be an instigator of aggression and instability. That is possible, and that is what should be seen as a strategic victory in this war.......... First, jealousy of Ukraine and its possible successes is an innate feature of post-Soviet power in Russia; it was also characteristic of the first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin. But since the beginning of Putin’s rule, and especially after the Orange Revolution that began in 2004, hatred of Ukraine’s European choice, and the desire to turn it into a failed state, have become a lasting obsession not only for Putin but also for all politicians of his generation. ........... Control over Ukraine is the most important article of faith for all Russians with imperial views, from officials to ordinary people. In their opinion, Russia combined with a subordinate Ukraine amounts to a “reborn U.S.S.R. and empire.” Without Ukraine, in this view, Russia is just a country with no chance of world domination. Everything that Ukraine acquires is something taken away from Russia............ Second, the view of war not as a catastrophe but as an amazing means of solving all problems is not just a philosophy of Putin’s top brass, but a practice confirmed by life and evolution. Since the Second Chechen War, which made the little-known Putin the country’s most popular politician, through the war in Georgia, the annexation of Crimea, the war in Donbas and the war in Syria, the Russian elite over the past 23 years has learned rules that have never failed: War is not that expensive, it solves all domestic political problems, it raises public approval sky-high, it does not particularly harm the economy, and — most importantly — winners face no accountability. Sooner or later, one of the constantly changing Western leaders will come to us to negotiate. It does not matter what motives will lead him — the will of the voters or the desire to receive the Nobel Peace Prize — but if you show proper persistence and determination, the West will come to make peace. ................ there are many in the United States, Britain and other Western countries in politics who have been defeated and lost ground due to their support for one war or another.

In Russia, there is simply no such thing.

Here, war is always about profit and success. ........... The elites simply know from experience that war works — better than anything else. ............ The war raises Putin’s approval rating by super-mobilizing the imperially minded part of society. The news agenda is fully consumed by the war; internal problems recede into the background: “Hurray, we’re back in the game, we are great, they’re reckoning with us!” Yet the aggressive imperialists do not have absolute dominance. They do not make up a solid majority of voters, and even they still require a steady supply of propaganda to sustain their beliefs....... (Several people were “drafted to the front” directly from the penal colony where I am.)........

(Several people were “drafted to the front” directly from the penal colony where I am.)

Wagner leader Prigozhin will move to Belarus following the mercenary group's uprising against Putin, Kremlin spokesman says The reported agreement comes after a paramilitary rebellion on Saturday in which the Wagner Group marched across Russia before suddenly turning around just 120 miles from Moscow. Prigozhin said he didn't want to shed Russian blood. ........ Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, a close Putin ally who has also long known Prigozhin, spent all day Saturday negotiating with Prigozhin ........ "The war wasn't needed to return Russian citizens to our bosom, nor to demilitarize or denazify Ukraine," Prigozhin said. "The war was needed so that a bunch of animals could simply exult in glory."

Narendra Modi Is Not Who America Thinks He Is Of the 180 nations surveyed in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, India sits at 161, a scant three places above Russia. Its position on the Academic Freedom Index has nose-dived since Mr. Modi took office, putting it on a course that sharply resembles those of other electoral autocracies. The Freedom in the World index has tracked a steady erosion of Indian citizens’ political rights and civil liberties. On the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, India has tumbled squarely into the ranks of “flawed democracies.” ........ the government systematically harasses its critics by raiding the offices of think tanks, NGOs and media organizations, restricting freedom of entry and exit, and pressing nuisance lawsuits — most conspicuously against the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, who was recently ejected from Parliament after his conviction on a ludicrous charge of having defamed everybody named “Modi.” It is no “perception” that Muslim history has been torn from national textbooks, cities with Islamic eponyms renamed and India’s only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir, stripped of its autonomy. ........... The share of women in the formal work force stands at around a paltry 20 percent and has shrunk during Mr. Modi’s tenure. The share of wealth held by the top 1 percent has grown since he took office and is now 40.5 percent, thanks to crony capitalism resembling the Russian oligarchy’s. ........ In Edison, N.J., marchers in the annual India Day parade last August drove a wheel loader, which resembles a bulldozer, bedecked with images of Mr. Modi and a far-right Indian government minister who has ordered the razing of Muslims’ homes and businesses, rendering such vehicles symbols of hate as provocative as a noose or a burning cross at a Klan rally. ........... Across America there are now more than 200 chapters of the overseas arm of India’s fascist-inspired Hindu nationalist paramilitary organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or R.S.S., of which Mr. Modi is a longtime associate. .......... Healthier ways to engage with India begin with understanding that Mr. Modi’s version of India is no less skewed than Donald Trump’s of the United States

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Inside Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Money-Making Machine The man who led a rebellion against President Vladimir Putin built a multinational commercial enterprise that helped fund his military operations. ...... experts expect the Kremlin to squeeze the man who launched the biggest challenge to Mr. Putin’s authority in his 23 years in power ....... Europe and the United States have been trying to shut down Prigozhin’s sprawling business operations for years. On the F.B.I.’s most wanted list, Mr. Prigozhin rose quickly in Putin’s Russia — from being the president’s favored caterer to winning major contracts that bankrolled Wagner Group, his private mercenary operation. Founded in 2014, Wagner fights wars and trains militias in politically restive countries, and it has been Mr. Putin’s go-to force when military campaigns go awry, such as in Syria and Ukraine. And Wagner’s internet troll farms target Western democracies and elections, including the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. ....... Wagner is a “brutal” transnational criminal organization, according to the Treasury Department. Evro Polis, a Prigozhin-linked company, that won energy concessions in Syria in return for military support. In Sudan and the Central African Republic, Wagner has muscled in on mining operations to help bankroll its operations. ......... To avoid sanctions and conceal its finances, Wagner often demands payment in gold, diamonds and shipments of oil and gas. The Financial Times estimated that between 2018 and 2021, revenues from Wagner’s holdings in natural resources were roughly $250 million. ............

Mr. Prigozhin also relies on a global network of corporate lawyers to fend off Western authorities

.......... “Unless he can show he’s so brutal that everyone needs to deal with him, this is the beginning of the end. Recovery will require a huge crackdown” ......... “This might be another demonstration of dysfunctionality, but he’s very good at finding a way to adapt and survive. His major talent is staying in power.”

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Saturday, June 24, 2023

24: Wagner

The Wagner Mutiny Foreshadows a Russian Defeat Prigozhin’s escapade shows Putin’s war in Ukraine isn’t going well for him.

Mercenary chief’s forces advance toward Moscow as Putin vows harsh punishment for rebellion leaders Prigozhin’s actions represented the most significant challenge to Putin’s leadership in his more than two decades in power........ Prigozhin’s private army appeared to control the military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, a city 660 miles (over 1,000 kilometers) south of Moscow that runs Russian operations in Ukraine, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said. Wagner troops and equipment also were in Lipetsk province, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) south of Moscow, where authorities “are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the population,” said regional Gov. Igor Artamonov, via Telegram. He did not elaborate.......... Prigozhin said his fighters would not surrender, as “we do not want the country to live on in corruption, deceit and bureaucracy.” ............. Prigozhin said his fighters would not surrender, as “we do not want the country to live on in corruption, deceit and bureaucracy.” ........ The rebellion comes as Russia is “fighting the toughest battle for its future,” Putin said, with the West piling sanctions on Moscow and arming Ukraine. “The entire military, economic and information machine of the West is waged against us,” Putin said...... In announcing the rebellion, Prigozhin said he wanted to punish Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after he accused Russian government forces of attacking Wagner field camps in Ukraine with rockets, helicopter gunships and artillery. He claimed that “a huge number of our comrades got killed.” ................ “For a long time, Russia used propaganda to mask its weakness and the stupidity of its government. And now there is so much chaos that no lie can hide it,” he said........ Prigozhin, whose feud with the Defense Ministry dates back years, had refused to comply with a requirement that his forces sign contracts with the ministry before July 1. He said Friday he was ready for a compromise but “they have treacherously cheated us.” In Washington, the Institute for the Study of War said “the violent overthrow of Putin loyalists like Shoigu and Gerasimov would cause irreparable damage to the stability of Putin’s perceived hold on power.” ...... The Kremlin said Putin spoke by phone with the leaders of Turkey, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan about the events.

Belarus: Wagner Group Leader Agrees to Stop Mercenaries' Advance Toward Moscow, Deescalate . Wagner chief Prigozhin orders his fighters to turn back from Moscow to avoid bloodshed Leader of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin says he has ordered his fighters, who had been advancing on Moscow, to turn around and return to their bases in order to avoid bloodshed.

Putin's plane reportedly departs from Moscow to Valdai, disappears from radars While commenting on Putin’s whereabouts to the state-controlled TASS news agency, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov said his boss “is working in the Kremlin.” ....... Russian officials are fleeing from Moscow on business jets ........... On June 23, the chief of PMC Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin declared war on the Russian Defense Ministry after an alleged attack by the Russian army on his mercenaries’ military camp. As of June 24, according to media reports, Wagner mercenaries took control of Russian military facilities in Rostov and Voronezh. Prigozhin demands access to Russia’s top military leadership, threatening to "advance towards Moscow."

Russia is on the verge of total disintegration, as local elites scramble for an escape . This is the beginning of the end for Vladimir Putin. That may seem an odd thing to say when he is in command of nearly five million armed men in various police, military and paramilitary units. A mutiny by 25,000 mercenaries a thousand miles away might appear, at first glance, to be a minor irritant. ........... But that is not how autocracies work. Putin’s power rests on projection, on propaganda, on the image of invincibility. Now, all of a sudden, the curtain is being snatched back, revealing the Wizard of Oz as a small, mediocre, frightened man. .......... the effect of sanctions has been to strengthen Putin’s control over the economy. ......... The siloviki, the strongmen around Putin, sense his vulnerability, and are making alliances in preparation for the transition. The generals and admirals who hold the other half of the nuclear codes are manoeuvring. Perhaps

nine of Russia’s regions and republics could be ready to call independence referendums, having had enough of a Muscovite clique which seizes their natural resources, conscripts their young men, and offers them nothing in return

............. Prigozhin, a minor Leningrad gangster who rose with Putin ......... Their soldiers are often the refuse of Russian jails, but their officers tend to be former regulars, in many cases men who have been cashiered for insubordination, pilfering or violence. Hence their constant need to disparage the army, to portray themselves as the real professionals........... Wagner, which could not complete the capture of Bakhmut in six months, was able to take the Russian city of Rostov in six hours. ........ “A blow like this was dealt to Russia in 1917,” he said. “Intrigues, squabbles and politicking behind the backs of the army and the nation turned into the greatest turmoil, the destruction of the army and the collapse of the state, and the loss of vast territories, ultimately leading to the tragedy of the civil war.”............ Army morale collapsed very suddenly, and soldiers turned angrily on the Tsarist regime that had sent them into a hellish war. Chaos ensued and, for a time, the vast Russian empire fragmented into a series of squabbling successor states: Siberia, Eastern Okraina, Karakorum, the Kuban Rada, the Provisional Government of the Urals and others. Eventually, the Bolsheviks managed to reabsorb most of these territories, though some, including Finland, Poland and the Baltic States, broke away. ................ There are independence movements in Buryatia, Sakha, Dagestan, Chechnya, Kamchatka Krai, Komi, Novosibirsk, Archangel and Tatarstan. In all these places, local elites are preparing for a clean excision, a chance to cut their links with a defeated and dishonoured Moscow regime and join the comity of nations as resource-rich republics. ........... .Putin, whose paranoia extends to breathing specially purified air, would not have entrusted his kitchens to anyone unreliable........... the Ukrainians, in one of the most brilliant tactical moves in the history of warfare, have grasped that mercenaries will fight for the highest bidder........... and his last broadcast before the rising was a denunciation of Russia’s pretext for the invasion. It is at least possible that he has seen that Putin cannot win, and has reached an accommodation elsewhere.......... A third possibility is that he has allies in the Russian high command, and that this is part of a co-ordinated revolution. ........ Whatever the explanation, the end of the Putin regime is now in sight. Madame de Staël once quipped that Russia’s system of government was “autocracy tempered by strangulation”, and even Putin seems to sense that his days may be numbered. His justification for the war has been shown to be nonsense, and the defection of the units that were doing the hardest fighting puts victory definitively beyond his reach. ............ A tyrant can get away with many things. He can murder opponents, impoverish his people, isolate his country. But he cannot get away with losing a war. Let’s call it the Galtieri Principle: a strongman who turns out to be weak has failed in his own terms.

Wagner boss Prigozhin stops revolt to 'avoid bloodshed' in Russia Some 5,000 Wagner fighters seen approaching the Russian capital • Russia powerless to stop Wagner's revolt, advances to Moscow ........ Mutinous Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday he had ordered his fighters advancing on Moscow in convoy to turn around and return to their bases to avoid bloodshed. ....... The office of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he had spoken to Prigozhin with Putin's approval, and that the head of the Wagner militia had agreed to de-escalate the situation. ............ "They wanted to disband the Wagner military company. We embarked on a march of justice on June 23. In 24 hours we got to within 200 km of Moscow. In this time we did not spill a single drop of our fighters' blood. "Now the moment has come when blood could be spilled. Understanding responsibility [for the chance] that Russian blood will be spilled on one side, we are turning our columns around and going back to field camps as planned."............. Earlier, Lukashenko's office said he had spoken to Prigozhin with Putin's approval, and that the mutinous head of the Wagner militia had agreed to stop the movements of his fighters, some of whom were advancing on Moscow in a convoy, and de-escalate. .

. ‘Breathtaking’: Lawmakers react to escalating security situation in Russia Congressional voices across the board stressed the historic scale and scope of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s declaration of war on Russian military leadership. ....... “This will almost certainly benefit the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the near term and [Ukraine] should move fast to capitalize,” Crow wrote on Saturday. .

. Russian helicopters battle rebel mercenaries rolling towards Moscow Russian military helicopters opened fire on Saturday afternoon (24 June) a convoy of rebel mercenaries already more than half way towards Moscow in a lightning advance after seizing a southern city overnight. President Vladimir Putin vowed to crush an armed mutiny he compared to Russia’s Civil War a century ago......... One tank was wedged between stucco buildings with posters advertising the circus. Another had “Siberia” daubed in red paint across the front, a clear statement of intent to sweep across the breadth of Russia. ........ “Excessive ambitions and vested interests have led to treason,” Putin said in a televised address, comparing the insurrection at a time of war abroad to Russia’s revolution and civil war unleashed during World War One. ....... A defiant Prigozhin swiftly replied that he and his men had no intention of turning themselves in. “The president makes a deep mistake when he talks about treason. We are patriots of our motherland, we fought and are fighting for it,” Prigozhin said in an audio message. “We don’t want the country to continue to live in corruption and deceit.” ........ In a series of hectic messages overnight, Prigozhin demanded Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov come to see him in Rostov. ....... The insurrection also risks leaving Russia’s invasion force in Ukraine in disarray, just as Kyiv is launching its strongest counteroffensive since the war began in February last year. .......... This month, he defied orders to sign a contract placing his troops under Defence Ministry command. ........... “There are 25,000 of us and we are going to figure out why chaos is happening in the country,” he said, promising to destroy any checkpoints or air forces that got in Wagner’s way. He later said his men had been involved in clashes with regular soldiers and had shot down a helicopter.

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